Suffolk teen goes against state’s best

Published 9:45 pm Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The 96th Annual VSGA (Virginia State Golf Association) State Amateur Championship teed off Tuesday at Cedar Point Country Club in North Suffolk.

As the top 120 amateur golfers in the commonwealth got started with the first of two days of stroke play, which will serve to cut the field down to 32 golfers before the match-play rounds of the event, Cedar Point could boast having one of its own members in the tournament.

John David Sanderson, 16, has been a member at the club and it’s been his home course from the time he picked up the game, about seven or eight years ago, he said Tuesday after shooting a six-over par 78 in the first round.

Email newsletter signup

Sanderson, who split this past school year at Tabb High School and at Summit Christian, a private school in Yorktown, qualified for the State Amateur Championship through a qualifier at Kingsmill in Williamsburg. Sanderson shot 76 and 75, then needed to get through a sudden-death playoff in which he birdied the first hole on Kingsmill’s Woods Course to claim one of the final spots.

“My main goal was to qualify,” said Sanderson. “Then I just wanted to play well and have fun. I’m not expecting too much, because there are the best golfers in the state here.”

“I try to come out just about every day and either practice or play,” said Sanderson about how often he’s out at Cedar Point.

Sanderson is not new to tournament golf. At Tabb in the fall, he finished 12th in the state in the VHSL State Tournament, as Tabb’s team finished fourth overall.

Last year, John David and Tyler, his older brother by two years, played in the Virginia State Four-Ball Championship at Cedar Point.

Just last week, Sanderson played in the Virginia State Junior Match Play Championship in Roanoke. Sanderson was one of 16 qualifiers, out of 97 golfers who started the event, to reach the match-play brackets in Roanoke; but he then lost in the round of 16.

The Virginia State Amateur Championship, though, is one of Sanderson’s first competitions against a mostly-adult field.

“I didn’t have my best day. I didn’t start very well, but I finished okay,” said Sanderson of his round Tuesday.

Brinson Paolini, the defending champion of the tournament, and Mikey Moyers, the three-time defending VSGA Junior Match Play Championship winner, were atop the leaderboard at six-under par 66.

Paolini, a recent Cox High School graduate who will be attending and playing golf for Duke University in the fall, had three eagles, two birdies and two bogies in his round.

Paolini eagled his opening hole, No. 1, by holing a gap wedge from the fairway on his second shot. Through five holes, Paolini was already four-under- par. His excellent play continued with eagles on both par fives on the back nine, Nos. 14 and 17.

Moyers, 18, is the reigning VHSL Group AA individual champion to go with his state junior match play titles. Moyers just graduated from William Monroe High School and will be going to Virginia Tech in the fall.

Starting on the 10th hole, Moyers birdied four of his first eight holes and finished with six birdies and no bogeys on the day.

Fielding Brewbaker, a recent graduate of James Madison University, shot 67 to stand in third place.

Brewbaker had only one bogey in his round, while birdying some of Cedar Point’s most difficult holes—No. 4, a 456-yard par four with a sharp dogleg, No. 13, a 440-yard par four with a narrow landing area for drives, and No. 18, a 482-yard par four with a green guarded by water and bunkers.

Virginia State Golf Association State Amateur Championship

At Cedar Point Country Club, Suffolk (par 72)


(1st round of two stroke-play rounds – the top 32 golfers through round two advance to the match-play rounds)

1. Brinson Paolini – Virginia Beach 66

1. Mikey Moyers – Stanardsville 66

3. Fielding Brewbaker – Salem 67

4. Allen Barber – Yorktown 68

5. Kyle Bailey – Fincastle 69

5. Lanto Griffin – Blacksburg 69

5. Daniel Walker – Earlysville 69

8. Nick Austin – Richmond 70

8. Evan Beck – Virginia Beach 70

8. Jerry Burton – Charlottesville 70

8. Garland Green – Tazewell 70

8. Ji Park – Centreville 70

8. Jordan Utley – Richmond 70

14. Adam Horton – Chesapeake 71

14. Scott Huneycutt – Portsmouth 71

14. Tim Kelley – Ashland 71

14. Scott Marino – Fairfax 71

14. John Phillips – Richmond 71

14. Ryan Stinnett – Amherst 71

20. Buck Brittain – Tazewell 72

20. Bryce Chalkley – Richmond 72

20. Weston Eklund – Charlottesville 72

20. A. J. Gerlach – Falls Church 72

20. Ben Keefer – Glen Allen 72

20. Trae Kresinske – Chesapeake 72

20. Vincent Nadeau – Penhook 72

20. Scott Shingler – Haymarket 72

20. Wes Smith – Virginia Beach 72

20. Pat Tallent – Vienna 72

20. Jeffrey Topp – Fairfax 72

20. Tom Vlahakis – Ashland 72

32. D. J. Doughtrey – Glen Allen 73

32. Brian Fairbank – McLean 73

32. Lee Fisher – Lynchburg 73

32. Jason Copeland – Virginia Beach 73

32. Austin Gray – Midlothian 73

32. Brandon Ketron – Abingdon 73

32. Tim Osterbind – Midlothian 73

32. Mike Redwood – Virginia Beach 73

32. Matt Sizemore – Richmond 73

32. Andrew Tilley – Ringgold 73

32. Jeremy Wells – Hopewell 73

32. Tyler Wingo – Fairfax 73


Preston Leigh – Suffolk 76

John David Sanderson – Suffolk 78